The Living Fire

By Francis Frangipane

What we define doctrinally as "salvation" is, in truth, the entrance, and then expansion, of Christ's presence within us. As we accept Him, Christ unites with our spirit and begins His transformational work: He begins to influence our thoughts, giving us insight into the Scriptures, convicting us of sin, and creating godly attitudes within us. He brings healing to the wounds of our past, and even our mortal bodies are quickened by His indwelling.

Our journey in Christ is, at the same time, His journey into us. We are His promised land. We can be assured that the giants in our lives, though they have humiliated us, will not humiliate Him. He shall conquer our enemies and dwell in us forever.

Thus, the reality we call "salvation" is, in truth, the unfolding of God's glory in man. Indeed, if you are a Christian, then Christ is in you; you are already in glory. You have been clothed with Christ (Gal. 3:27), and Christ is Himself the "radiance of [the Father's] glory" (Heb. 1:3).

Satan knows you are a Christian, not simply because he heard you repeat a prayer at a church altar; the devil sees what happened when you prayed: the glory of Christ entered your spirit!

There, within your spirit right now, abides the living substance – even the brilliant radiance – of Christ Himself. Your prayer to receive the Lord Jesus into your heart was eternally effective.

The Divine Refuge
To attain God's glory is the reason for our existence. Consequently, the Lord is more concerned with our full conversion than our fleshly comfort; He seeks to establish in us true holiness rather than false happiness. He will even bring us through floods and fires if necessary to scourge away our addiction to the goals of men.

The outcome of what seems like harsh or severe dealings is that, having been delivered from the frail defenses of man, the glory of God Himself becomes our shelter.

"When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion . . . by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning, then the Lord will create over the whole area of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, even smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory will be a canopy." ---Isaiah 4:4-5

The glory of His presence "will be a canopy." Isaiah continues, "There will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain" (Isa. 4:6).

Think of it! In the last days the glory of God shall increasingly become so tangibly manifest, so substantial, that His radiance will become a "shelter," a "refuge," and a "protection" to His people.

For all the compelling reasons to serve God, His highest calling to our hearts is nothing less than the attainment of Christ's glory: "It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thess. 2:14).

Yes, Christ will part the skies and, at the last trump, we shall put on both immortality and full conformity to our Redeemer (1 Cor. 15; 1 John 3:2). Yet, I will tell you a mystery: there is a preview stage to Christ's return – a short season when (in spite of our human weakness) a special glory shall be "given" to the bride. Yes, she shall "clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean" (Rev. 19:8; see also Isa 60:1-3; Matt. 13:41-43). Christ is coming, and in anticipation of His return, His bride, "bright and clean," shall herald His return.

Indeed, entrance into Christ's glory shall not only become more attainable; it shall become more necessary. For as the end times intensify, the glory of God shall become a living shelter for His people. In His great love for us, as the Lord draws near, His presence shall consume the chaff of our worldliness; our fears shall dissolve into praise. What shall remain is a people purified and secure in the living fire of His presence.